Student blog: Yuansheng's experience on his summer studentship at RNOH
18 August 2021
Yuansheng Zhang (UCL Mechanical Engineering) is an undergraduate student enrolled in a UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and UCL Engineering scheme allowing engineers to spend time embedded and learning within clinical settings. Here he tells us more.
What I enjoyed the most is the opportunity to join the clinics with the surgeons. Mr Dimos explained to me in detail about the patients’ conditions and how he diagnoses them. Together with Mr Welck, We discussed possible applications of the insoles in each case, which helped me obtain a better understanding of the project. I also love the experience of being involved in the clinical environment, getting introduced to excellent surgeons, clinical consultants and having my work appreciated as an engineer. It is interesting to see how the engineering and medical profession are closely related and the huge potential when we collaborate.
The project I worked on aimed to develop a robust smart solution under £30 per unit to help diagnose patients’ gaits and improve rehabilitation in a dynamic environment.
The most valuable lesson for me from the studentship is to understand client needs and how to communicate with them effectively. As an engineer, we tend to focus on the technical details and sometimes ignore a few features that are critical to the application. What we see as a simple fix may not be as obvious to the client. Similarly, the parts where we devoted a large amount of time to, for example, the underlying software, may not be as impressive as a conceptual visual model. It is critical to stand in the shoe of the client and explain the purpose and the importance of each component of the project and the value it brings.
On the technical side, I have gained an in-depth knowledge of various force-sensitive resistors including their working theory, applications and limits. By coding the software in Processing with Java which is a brand new language to me, I have enhanced my programming skill. I have also learnt about what it is like to work as a researcher.